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Permanent Collection

Giuseppe Vicenzino - 1600–1700

(active 2nd half 17th cent.)

A Milanese painter who worked in the second half of the 17th century and specialised in flower still lifes. We know many of his signed works, among them two monumental paintings in the Dubini collection in Milan, which were shown at the exhibition of Italian still lifes La natura morta italiana in Naples in 1964. No details of the painter’s life are known. It would appear that he and Margherita Caffi were pupils of the mysterious Vincenzo Volo, a still-life painter whose works we do not know. Because Margherita Caffi signed “Vicenzina”, Vicenzino might have been a relative of hers, or both of them might have taken their names from their teacher, so that Vicenzino might only be a pseudonym.

Vicenzino’s style is Lombard, but it is enriched with Flemish features in the spirit of Abraham Brueghel and the Italian painter Mario de’ Fiori (Mario Nuzzi). It is known that Vicenzino had a daughter called Domenica who also painted flower still lifes, and a number of pupils who popularised his style.

Lit.: Luigi Salerno, Nuovi studi su la natura morta italiana, Roma 1989; La natura morta in Italia, Editor Federico Zeri, Vol. I-II, Milano 1989 (Text: Alessandro Morandotti); Settecento Lombardo, Palazzo Reale & Museo della Fabbrica del Duomo, Milano 1991, pp. 239-240 (biogr. Anna Maria Bianchi) [ex. cat.].

From Mannerism to Baroque

Although imported early-Baroque works prevailed in this period and those by itinerant artists, the 17th century paved the way for the future. The political circumstances in the region were relatively stabilized in spite of the Thirty Year War and the patronage gradually grew stronger. The arrival of the Jesuits in Ljubljana, the activity of the polymath Johann Weichard Valvasor, particularly his graphic workshop at Bogenšperk/Wagensperg Castle, and the foundation of the Academia operosorum at the end of the century were the key events of the time. 

Characteristic of sculptural production on the Slovenian territory in the 17th century were the so-called “golden altars”. As a rule, these were gilded and polychrome carved wooden retables with rich ornamentation, first with crustaceous patterns which turned into vine and grapes that covered architectural framework until the achantus foliage took over and obliterated architectural structure completely. The making of golden altars included several branches of fine arts: prints, carving, gilding, painting. Religious painting of the first half of the century still contains Mannerist elements; in the second half also secular motifs became more numerous, particularly genre scenes and aristocratic portraits. The artworks mainly echo northern early-Baroque influences. 

Noteworthy among the newcomers who settled in Carniola with their workshops were the painter and gilder Hans Georg Geiger von Geigerfeld in the mid-century, who had moved to Carniola from the region of the Central Alps, and the Fleming Almanach in the third quarter of the 17th century, known only by his nickname, who worked here only for a few years. The extraordinary productivity and skills of the latter are evidenced by his rare surviving works, mentions in Valvasor’s books, and aristocratic probate inventories.